The National Benefits Hub

Research that Supports Recreation

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Benefits and Trends

As leaders and professionals, we must monitor related trends, predictions and prescriptions. Otherwise, we will:

  • miss emerging opportunities;
  • create facilities based on yesterday’s demand patterns that will lose relevance over their 50 to 100 year lifespan;
  • generally run the risk of simply backing into the future by cleaning up historical patterns and problems.

In a dynamic operating environment, the ability to manage with foresight is the ultimate leadership competency.

As a result, the Benefits DataBank will ultimately include an additional section that includes trends pertaining to the specific outcomes. NOTE: The trends and facts relating to each Benefit Outcome Statement is about 50% complete and is expected to be available by late 2011.

This BENEFITS scan of key trends over the past decade impacting the 8 key marketing messages and the related 50 Outcome or Benefits Statements is being done to support community leaders with more facts to prove their work "DOES MAKE A DIFFERENCE". This resource will also need to be updated on a regular basis to remain valuable to practitioners, administrators and academics.


ARPA/ACE Communities has developed a leadership competency framework that places emphasis on vision, big picture thinking, planning and the change agent function. Many of these elements are also incorporated into the ARPA Vocational Competencies for Recreation and Parks Practitioners, along with capabilities related to leisure education, programming, facility/parks planning and management, community development and all aspects of management. None of these competencies can be learned at some fixed time in the past and be relied upon as the communities we serve change around us.

The trendscan goal for each Outcome Statement is to identify, and report on the facts and trends that will impact the specific outcome and how we go about our work, community development and recreation/parks businesses. The content of the trendscan will be determined by search results and the need to link to at least one of the benefits statements. The trendscan will be designed to be of value to both individual leaders, practitioners and to agencies and organizations engaged in community development and recreation/parks work. This benefits trendscan information can be produced as a report or can be made available online.

In addition to collecting trends related to specific benefits or outcomes, another site has been developed to review overall trends in the leisure industry called LEISURE TREND SCAN - FORESIGHT BLOG at www.

This site includes trends, some analysis of impact and related links to excellent resources. This will be an interactive site which encourages your participation and feedback on the material and comments regards the future direction of this field.

Example of some of the Trends Linked to Core Competencies include:

Leisure Education

  • trends in leisure time availability
  • trends in consumer target categories (e.g. those with leisure time and discretionary income, those with time but limited funds, those with limited time and funds)
  • trends in the determinants of leisure (age, income, education, cultural background)
  • broad trends in leisure interests and demand patterns

Program and Events

  • leisure activity trends – separate sections on participation in specific activities, fitness, sport, arts/culture, park visitation, and outdoor recreation
  • tourism trends – understanding recreation away from home, our growing awareness of emerging demand patterns and their implications for local behaviour and demand

Community Development

  • changing composition and nature of communities (both geographical and communities of interest)
  • influence of the digital age and social networking on community and service provision
  • shifts in perceptions of rights and responsibilities – changing view of citizenship
  • shifts in voluntarism
  • shifts in government support for the non-profit sector
  • general trends in non-profit capacity

Human Resource Management

  • management/leadership trends
  • shifts in the motivation of volunteers and volunteer supervision
  • general trends in employee attitudes and values


  • trends in cultural composition of the communities we serve
  • disability trends
  • the shifting family
  • income trends – economically disadvantaged
  • monitoring gender and sexual orientation – interests, needs, opportunities

Resource Development

  • trends in government budgets related to recreation, parks, sport, arts and culture
  • trends in government grants to community, arts, culture, recreation, sport, parks and environment activities and groups
  • fundraising and fund development trends

Marketing and Communications

  • general trends in consumer behaviour that may have implications
  • predictions related to market segments (often taken from tourism literature)
  • trends in how consumers prefer to get their information

Recreation Facility Management

  • participation information related to facility demand in the future
  • trends in facility management (e.g. emerging technology, emerging best practices)
  • implications of socio-demographic shifts for facility demand and design

Parks Management

  • participation information related to park demand in the future
  • trends in parks and protected area management
  • implications of changing communities and modern planning practices (e.g. density) for urban parks, open spaces and corridors.


Leadership Provided By:

  • Leisure Information Network (LIN)
  • Alberta Recreation and Parks Association

On Behalf Of:

  • Canadian Parks and Recreation Association (CPRAA)

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